Tuesday, February 17, 2015

February 17, 2015 - along the Way ...

This weekend my wife and I enjoyed viewing the film, "Old Fashioned".  It was a really GREAT movie!  Perhaps you have heard that from others, but I want to elaborate on why it was such a GREAT movie.

This film is GREAT on so many levels.  It certainly offers an alternative to the way our society often presents male-female relationships, but it also examines the interplay between righteousness and grace.

We know that Christ is our righteousness, and His righteousness is received by God's grace alone.
In Christ, God sees us as forgiven, sinless, and completely righteous.  However, the fact that God declares us righteous in Christ (what we call justification) does not lower the expectation of becoming holy (what we call sanctification) as through the Holy Spirit's power we become more like Jesus.

Jesus presents us with this challenge in what is called "The Sermon on the Mount".   In Matthew 5:17-20 Jesus says,

"Do not think I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets;
I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.
For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth disappear;
not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen,
will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished.
Therefore anyone who sets aside one of the least of these commands
and teaches others accordingly will be called least in the kingdom of heaven,
but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven.
For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees 
and the teachers of the law,
you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven."

Jesus never lowers the standard.  Righteousness is the expectation.  By God's grace, Jesus brings us up to the standard (justification) while empowering us through the Holy Spirit to live righteously (sanctification).  

In the movie, we are challenged to wrestle with the expectation of righteousness, while receiving the gift of God's grace in Christ.  

In some ways, I believe Clay is only able to understand and appreciate the depth of God's love because he struggled to live righteously.  

There is much more that can be said regarding this movie, but I think this is sufficient to initiate a good conversation.  If you have seen the movie, please share your own thoughts and reactions.  If you have not seen it, I highly recommend it, and invite you to share your thoughts here as well, as we journey together along the Way ... 

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